Another Simple Surf Wetsuit Mod

Is it Summer yet? Well, at least the holidays are almost done. Yet another year I didn’t get to spend at Mr. Kelly Slater’s Bodacious Wave Ranch. Boo.

So, back at this local wave ranch, I’ve been trying to get at least one more season out of my 4/3 Neoprene backzip fullsuit. I had modded it last year by cutting the legs off at the knee. In Florida, the north wind can feel a lot colder than the water temp, so a shorter leg can be more comfortable to surf in.

The latest mod I wanted to do is one I’ve heard many other surfers ask about: what to do with a bothersome high collar on a wetsuit. Mine seems a little tight, so I wanted to trim it down.

Like most basic Neoprene wetsuit mods, you don’t need a sewing machine, but the “big secret” is in the tools:

  • Seam Ripper
  • Rotary Cutter (preferably 45 mm diameter or less)
  • Heavy duty hand sewing needle
  • Polyester thread or fishing line

First, I removed that pesky key pocket behind the back zipper. I have other ways of hiding my keys, and dunking them in saltwater isn’t on the top of the list. It’s so scratchy anyway, and adds bulk I don’t need.

Next, I removed the Velcro tab on the collar with a seam ripper so it wouldn’t damage my rotary blade. I’m cutting away the Neoprene collar only, keeping the seal of the glued seam intact. I tried to make one continuous cut by opening up the suit as flat as it would go on the table.

If you choose to use regular scissors, be forewarned: your edges will come out VERY jagged due to the thickness of the Neoprene. This is why I stress the rotary blade over regular scissors.

I don’t like to use any type of edge guide when making these kind of highly curved cuts with the rotary tool. You can use a disappearing ink pen to make a cut line if your lining is light colored. For me, I winged it by eyeballing the 1/4″ distance from the yellow tape on the inside of the suit.

I used just a scant amount of Velcro from the tab I removed, and hand-sewed it back onto the flap so the collar would still close, just at a much lower profile. I may add a bit more Velcro later, depending on how it handles in the surf over time.

Much better!

Easier to wrestle with and the neck’s a lot more comfortable, but it’s still sealed up well.

This is a good reminder that I need to put the sugary goodness away for the season and get back in the water. Yikes.

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Pouch Keychain

This week has been cray cray. The stress of the holidays is approaching, and you can see it around Cocoa Beach with the influx of angry out of towners. And here I thought the ocean was supposed to be soothing.

Instead of getting out in the crazy shopping melee tomorrow, MAKE something useful out of your old wetsuit, since you’re probably getting a new one anyways. Even if you’ve been naughty and stealing my waves, you wanker.

I used a scrap of Neoprene from a machine washed wetsuit sleeve for the main part of this pouch. Machine washing is OK and DESIRED if it is to be used for crafting! The Velcro and nylon webbing piece came from another old surfing vest zip back. I cut the piece of Velcro in half so it would span the top flap and keep it closed.

I also used a keychain ring with a clip from the hardware store, and some heavy duty nylon thread in purple and black to sew everything. You can use Neoprene repair glue if you want to glue the pieces instead, but I hand sewed everything on.

I cut the sleeve just a few inches above the wrist, then cut away a little on the inside, leaving a top flap to put the Velcro on:

I sewed the clip and strap onto the back of the pouch also:

Done- and useful for putting all sorts of surfy stuff in, like surf wax, fin screws, leash loops, etc. Schweet.

Now, wasn’t that more fun than dealing with the holiday chaos?

FYI: Outerknown Black Friday Sale

Hey, I don’t freakin’ work for Kelly Slater, but he IS da MAN here in Cocoa Beach, and a nice dude, so I’d thought I’d give a plug for his latest clothing endeavor, Outerknown. They’re having a Black Friday Sale, so if you’ve ever wanted to check out the brand, this is a good time. This is just info, I wish I got free stuff from them, but no, I just keep watch on da sales.

Their clothes are usually CRAZY expensive, but on their website, I just picked up a pair of boardshorts for $30.

I’ve checked them out in person before, and they were extremely well made, but I couldn’t justify the original price of $75. Yikes. Currently, the boardshorts are the best bargain on the website, in my opinion.

Guess he’s gotta pay for that new wave pool.

Time for a New Surfboard Leash

Last week, we had a few days of fun longboard swell, so I took out my heavier 9’0″ Dewey Weber Performer longboard. When I attached my usual longboard surf leash, I had noticed that the Velcro was beginning to fray badly and the attachment points had become far too supple, almost to the point of tearing. It was time for a new leash, and this one was finished….

Typically for my longboards- which have ranged between 8’6″ and 9’2″- I’ve used a standard 9′ long surf leash. Your leash needs to be about as long as the surfboard you plan to ride. I have a 9′ leash for my longboards, one for funshapes/shortboards that’s 7′ long, and a 5′ leash for my little 4’6″ Beater board.

Surfboard leashes have become an essential safety item to me, since the lineup here in Florida can become crowded quickly with surfers AND swimmers alike. I don’t want to take the chance of a wipeout potentially injuring someone else. I also consider it important in case I become too tired to swim if I lose my board, which was one of the main drivers behind the invention created in the late 1960’s in California (History of the Surfboard Leash).

Pat O’Neill (of O’Neill Surf Company fame, and the son of founder Jack O’Neill) gets the credit for making the “kook cord” popular. Ironically, he lost his eye when his board snapped back in his face due to the initial poor design of the surf leash. Today, better designs make this much less common, but there are some things I still do to prepare my leash before its’ first use.

Once either end of the leash attach points become frayed or loose, spend a little coin and get a new leash. It’s not worth taking the chance over spending $20-30 bucks at least once a year if you surf frequently. More if yer a gnarly ripper, brah. Lawsuits can get pricey. Same goes if the cord comes loose from either end- no gluegunnin’ it here- this is SAFETY equipment. Y’all feelin’ me?

Now, all brand new leashes have the same problem- they’re kinkier than Christian Grey.

Kinky.

Every one of my new leashes gets a turn on a sturdy palm tree to stretch it out a bit. I like having both my eyes, so getting it stretched out a bit keeps it from “snapping” back as much during initial surf sessions. Of course, future wipeouts will help stretch the leash as well. Yikes.

I’m finally getting some strength exercise in…..

Much better than before.

This particular leash I purchased is a “Regular” leash, meaning the cord thickness isn’t too thin, nor too thick for most recreational surf breaks. It’s what is typically found at most surf shops.

Comp” or “Competition” weight leashes have a thinner cord. The concept is that the thinner cord reduces drag when paddling, surfing, and doing tricks. Personally, I really like them because they are light, and more than enough cord thickness for our usual 2-3′ waves here in Cocoa Beach. Comp weight leashes are hard to find in 8’+ lengths at many stores, but I’ve seen them on occasion.

Big Wave” leashes have supa thicky-thick cord. Unless you’re planning on surfing huge Pe’ahi or Cloudbreak with your 10′ elephant gun, OR your name rhymes with “Blaird Blamilton,” you can probably pass on this type of leash. If you ever need it, trust me- you’ll already be in the know then.

Can’t wait to try out my spiffy new leash, but it’s gnar chop city for a few days, so I’ll have to find somewhere else to go…..

Surfer Gifts: Holiday Surf Wax

I go through a lot of surf wax. I’ll totally admit that I’m not nimble enough to get away with a quick scrape of wax on my board before paddling out.

I took my heavy noserider out the other day and realized it was time to stop by Core Surf for some fresh wax. I picked up several bars of Warm Water blend Sticky Bumps, since our water temp has dropped into the mid-70’s. After reading Make Something Mondays’ post about Fall Scented Candles, I was inspired to make “Holiday” Scented Wax. I used Sticky Bumps since I’ve found it holds the added scent better than other brands of surf waxes in my opinion.

I thought this would make an excellent DIY surfer gift for the season, without spending a fortune.

If you look in any baking section of a craft or big box store, you’ll find a lot of silicone molds available these days. They’ve become quite affordable, and they are super handy if you like to customize your own surf wax. I really liked the shape of this mold, since it’s a handy shape to use when applying surf wax.

Use silicone molds to make it easier

First, I broke the original wax into pieces to fit into the molds. Three original Sticky Bumps bars were used to make six bars of scented wax. I popped the whole thing into the oven at around 175 degrees F for over twenty minutes. I didn’t want to boil the wax, just melt it gently. Don’t use the microwave, unless you like a gnarly mess, Bro-tato Chip.

The wax will melt into each mold shape


Once the wax was completely melted in each mold, I used some Lor-Ann baking oils in Apple and Orange, and also some real Vanilla extract. Only a few drops are necessary, but add as much as desired for optimal smelliness. 
Use a toothpick to stir in the oils evenly and minimize bubbles. The oil will settle to the top a bit, but that’s okay, it will be distributed as it’s applied on the surfboard.

Some oil has a little color, but it won’t be noticeable on the surfboard


Allow the wax to cool in the mold and harden fully before trying to remove it. Don’t put it in the freezer- that can create voids in the wax.

Stack o’ Wax: Apple, Orange, and Vanilla


Done! I got a little wooden crate at the craft store for a buck, and it really classes things up as a Christmas gift. I also used a cardboard punch to make tags out of the wax box, and strung it on with some hemp.

Surfer gift done.

A holiday gift that’s surfing related AND smells like food???

That’s righteous

Atoll Boards Sticker Pack + Bracelet Giveaway

Giveaway has ended! Congrats, Scrappy Yogi!

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The dudes over at Atoll Stand Up Paddleboard Company sent me a pack of 15 stickers, so I figured I’d make it into a fun Monday giveaway for y’all who follow this crazy surfy goodness. I’m throwing in a Linhasita macrame Anchor bracelet I made as bonus surf cred. I’m really digging the buffalo on a surfboard logo. Isn’t it ironic? Don’tcha think?

15 ATOLL Board stickers, and a cool surfer bracelet duuuude


I’ve surfed on SUP’s a lot, but never an inflatable type like these Atoll’s. A friend of mine has one, but he travels around the world A LOT, so I could see where it could save on fees and hassle. You could even have your own bed with you when they cancel your flight. 

I see these used a lot for SUP yoga, and I think that’s smart for many reasons. There’s no way in hell I’m putting my ass over my head on top of an unanchored, free floating piece of hard fiberglass. Gimme the freakin’ NERF board.

Anywho, first person to answer in the comments WINS! I’ll announce the winner on this post, so check back! Thanks Atoll Boards, for da stickers!

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QUESTION: Where is Atoll Board Company located?

Answer in the comments below, first right answer wins! I’ll ship internationally, but not to prisons. Or clown colleges.

Don’t try this with an SUP, brah

The Latest Surfing Trends and Fads: Fall Edition

So I’ve dug up some more surfing trends and accessories you may or may not have heard about. Some are inventive, some are…..not ready for primetime. 

Did I get any of this stuff for free or at a discount? HELL nah. I wish. My opinions are definitely my own, and I tell it like it is, brah.

Gnarly wipeout, brah


*****
Grater Grip for Surfboard Wax

I bought one of these at their booth at a local surfboard factory sale. They were thirteen bucks back then- now they’re $9.99- which is still a little pricey. It’s essentially a flat plastic cheese grater to help put on your surfboard wax, and remove it. This could be a good idea if you like that type of traction on your board. I tried it, and hated the feel AND look of it, personally. Oh well.

Pros: Great for using up the tiniest bits of wax left in your surfmobile

Cons: Random people may walk up to you with plates of freshly cooked pasta




Stained Glass Fins by Rainbow Fin Company

I had to snag this fin!!!

 
I have bought two of these fins so far as gifts, and I have been pleased with them, as well as the recipients. I like giving something that’s beautiful AND useful. Since they are one-of-a-kind handmade surfboard fins, they can run 100 bucks and up, so it’s more of a collectible for the “more seasoned” (aka older) surfer crowd. 

Pros: Makes simple, functional artwork on your surfboard or on the wall.

Cons: At the price, it’s definitely an investment.




Wax Knuckles

This pic is from their website

I don’t own this, but it seems like an awfully good idea. It’s a wax scraper and wax comb that is ergonomically designed. If you like to change out your wax a lot, or resell a lot of surfboards, this scraper is kinda neato. It costs twice as much as a regular wax comb (these are $5.99), but if you do a lot of scraping, it might be worth it.

Pros: May save on some carpal tunnel surgery down the road

Cons: The HUGE handspan required to make the scraper comfortable to use may exclude other smaller surfer chicks like me. I’ll wait for the smaller Oompa Loompa Model to be launched 



Ventura Vientola Finger Surfboard

I thought this fad had passed, but it’s back for Boomers

When I first started surfing, I bought I tiny toy 3” plastic “….Lost” surfboard I sat on my nightstand for my own encouragement. I guess this is the upgraded model at seventy bucks, but it is handcrafted in California out of mahogany, comes with a tiny leash, carrying pouch, and a miniature bar of surf wax. This would look good next to your wine rack and humidor. Did I guess right???

Pros: That’s art to any surfer, and looks better on the wall than the Family Cat in a frame. Also good if you live in a tiny house and drive a Mini

Cons: You may start buying these to look at when your knees start hurting too much to use an actual surfboard




Hope I showed ya something new today!

Do ya EVER graduate in surfing?????